With High Court Evenly Split, Obama's Immigration Actions Remain On Hold | WBEZ
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With High Court Evenly Split, Obama's Immigration Actions Remain On Hold

The Supreme Court finished deadlocked when it considered whether President Obama had the authority to shield millions of immigrants from deportation.

The 4-4 tie leaves in place a lower court ruling that put the Obama administration's DAPA program on hold.

Katie Park/NPR Data from the Migration Policy Institute

If you remember, back in 2014, President Obama announced that he was expanding his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which stopped the deportation of "dreamers," or young people who were brought into the country illegally by their parents.

DACA, which was not under scrutiny here, shielded some 1.1 million immigrants from deportation, while the expansion of that program and the creation of another — called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — would have shielded some 4 million others.

Back in November, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that put DAPA and the expansion on DACA on hold, while the government awaited a trial. The government appealed that decision to Supreme Court and the eight justices could not form a majority.

The deadlock leaves the legal questions at the center of case — whether Obama has the constitutional authority to enact those programs — unresolved.

The deadlock means the decision of the 5th Circuit stands and with little time left in Obama's term this could essentially be the last judicial fight over his executive actions on immigration.

Immigration advocates reacted with disappointment.

In a statement, Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said Obama needed to announce a new plan immediately.

"It will be fully unacceptable for the President to use this decision as an excuse for inaction in cleaning up the mess created by his brutal deportation policy," Alvarado said.

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